Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Hometown Christmas

 When they light up our Christmas tree on the village green it is the signal for the decorating to begin!

Come take a stroll around with me. Being new to using this camera I still have that beginner's concept of being sure that I'm able to photograph anything. Well, the results aren't entirely perfect and the use of my tripod (which stayed warm alone in the car) would have resulted in more clear images but I had fun trying to document the holiday lights in our town this Christmas. It is actually quite hard to figure out the settings for the camera when you can barely see where the buttons and shutter are, much less use numbingly cold fingers to make the adjustments.

In the Village Center the lamp posts are wrapped with garland and ribbon and the store decorations range from a modest door wreath with a lit tree inside to...
the jeweler who has gone all out this year.

At night it is as though that tree is covered in thousands of glittering sapphires.

 The gazebo wrapped in garland and bows by day transforms to
the sparkle of icicle lights by night.
 The tree doesn't really float as it appeared to in my first photo but the perimeter fence has lights along the top and when it is very dark and you are taking photos at 10.30pm it can look that way.

 The landscaping business has created a masterfully lit advertisement for their services - understated and very elegant. There's a chimney which blocks out a few of the bulbs on the roof ridgeline.

 Away from the center of town homeowners have taken up the lighting challenge also. This one has full on spotlighting to wash the entire front facade along with the candle light in each window and the big wreath.
 With only the one small tree festooned in colored lights this homeowner nevertheless manages to create a splash of wow! I loved how the colors bounced off the paintwork.
Here's a more restrained look; white lights and not too many of them.

This tree just enchanted me. Look how pretty the reflections in the window are.

How dull it will be in January when all these are turned off.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December in my Garden

I have been somewhat absent from post creating of late because of a variety of reasons - poor weather for photo taking being a major one. But yesterday was not too bad so I spent an hour or so looking around my garden. The night before I had been really lucky to catch the sunset in the above photo. I've wondered for quite some time why I can't seem to see good sunsets and finally the penny dropped that my house is somewhat in a dip in the landscape. It has to be a really great one before I can see it from here.
December in the garden does not have a lot going for it unless you look at textures, shapes and monotones. From my upstairs windows I can see some really robust rusty brown leaves hanging on in among these many tall straight trunks.
In the back corner interest has been stripped away. The garden benches have moved inside for the season and the summer perennials have been cut back to release the chaos of leaves trapped in their dried stalks.
On the side, the sweetbay magnolia tree is currently showing a very pretty combination of colors if you tip your head and look up high.
Holly berries on the Nellie Stevens holly tree are not abundant this year. I'm not sure what the Old Farmers Almanac says this portends.
Out front the Korean boxwood planted earlier in the planing season have had a layer of mulch laid down to help them get through this first winter. The island bed in the foreground still has the coneflower seed heads that I like to leave for the birds enjoyment.
The blush pink nandina is living up to it's name.
I had come inside thinking I was done with photo taking when the sun burst out for a few minutes. From an upstairs window the shadows looked interesting and showed up well on the newly "swept up" back yard.

Now it is the "bare bones" time for the landscape I can see a few items that need moving around. My Dad's rain gauge might need bringing in for the season as I'd hate for frozen water in it to expand and burst the metal seams. The white birdhouse I liked so much that came from Amish country in PA was not nearly as well liked by the birds so I may relocate it to see if the birds think it is more attractive with a different aspect. The sundial on the pedestal next to the holly tree has been too shaded for some years now but when I first placed it there the holly tree wasn't much more than 3' high.

The back of the yard has quite an area of woods in a natural shape. We sometimes like to leave produce items out there for the critters. This was a butternut squash from the 2013 vine in front under the nandina that we forgot to eat and it has taken on a really intriguing appearance. A tomato that did not ripen in time has maintained it's shape and the large brown leaf in the front left added a final touch to this Still Life by Nature. It would make great inspiration for a fiber art/quilt piece with those pops of green among the myriad shades of brown.

Last winter the harsh weather killed the big rosemary bush. In the spring I cut it back to the ground intending to pull all the root system out once the flower  volunteers finished blooming. As you can see, I'm still waiting. This little viola is one of the few touches of color left in my garden in this month of December.
Finally, this was last night's sunset - not quite as pretty as the one from Thursday but as there is a large airport in that same direction the vapor trails from the many aircraft do add to the effect.